From Bartending to Business: How a College Student’s Side Hustle Transformed into a $7,000 Monthly Revenue Stream

Jack TerHaar

Jack TerHaar, a senior at the University of Georgia and an ardent Bulldogs fan, found his job bartending in Athens, Georgia, was infringing on his passion for watching the games. The late nights only compounded the issue. “I didn’t want to be working until four in the morning,” TerHaar, originally from Louisiana, said, reflecting his entrepreneurial spirit and desire to utilize his time more effectively.

TerHaar explored various options before deciding on car detailing, recognizing it as a potentially profitable and flexible venture with minimal overhead. His instincts proved correct, and after overcoming some initial challenges and with guidance from his school’s entrepreneurial mentorship program, he established ‘Detail Dawgs’. The business now generates $7,000 a month, and TerHaar generously donates a portion of these earnings to charity. Post-graduation, he plans to expand the business to other college towns.

Seeking Guidance from Mentors

TerHaar’s journey began with research, consulting a local detailing business owner, and utilizing online resources like YouTube to understand the required materials. He started by detailing cars for friends and showcasing his work on Instagram. Although business was picking up, it wasn’t sufficient to cover his tuition costs. Coming from a family with a strong entrepreneurial background, he enrolled in a 4-week entrepreneurial accelerator program at UGA, which proved to be a turning point.

“My professors really pushed me,” TerHaar recalls. They set clear goals for outreach and job acquisition, propelling him from handling five or six jobs a month to 12 in a single week.

Expanding Beyond the Comfort Zone

His professors advised aiming for a 2% conversion rate from contacting 1000 potential clients weekly. This meant venturing beyond his immediate circle and the university campus. TerHaar started promoting his business in public spaces like grocery stores and parking lots, and approached professional establishments like real estate and law offices. He learned the importance of stepping out of his comfort zone to understand and reach his target market.

TerHaar’s use of Google Ads also helped propel his business, ranking him first in his area for car detailing. The business grew to about 15 jobs per week, necessitating the hiring of three additional staff members. With pricing set at $180 for sedans and $210 for SUVs and trucks, the team was able to maintain a balance between their business and academic commitments.

A Commitment to Giving Back

A significant aspect of TerHaar’s business ethos is philanthropy. In September, he donated a part of Detail Dawgs’ income to the National Alopecia Areata Foundation in support of his sister Abby, who has Alopecia. This gesture of support was inspired by his parents, who previously raised over $250,000 for the same cause through various events.

Learning Through Experience

TerHaar’s journey included evolving from using a coin-operated carwash to operating a mobile service. He and his team equipped themselves with various cleaning tools and supplies, learning practical skills and techniques along the way, including the importance of wearing gloves during particularly messy jobs.

Vision for the Future

TerHaar envisions a future where he can focus more on managing and expanding Detail Dawgs, potentially turning it into a six-figure business by extending its reach to other college towns. For now, he is content with the autonomy his business provides, allowing him to enjoy Bulldogs games without the constraints of his previous bartending job.

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